This weekend I am at my Aunt's house in NJ with my mother, sister, grandma and 2 aunts. Why? It's our Annual Christmas Shopping Extravaganza!
Every year we all get together and go to a group of outlets on the East Coast. We get to see everyone and buy Christmas presents, gab and laugh, eat and drink and be merry.
Group shopping can be dangerous. Peer pressure abounds and the attitude is very "oh, go ahead, buy it!" The trick is to prepare for the trip and stay within your budget. I made this beautiful, geeky Excel spreadsheet with all the people I was buying presents for and how much I was spending on them. You enter in the items you buy and their costs, and it calculates how much you have left to spend. Then I couldn't get it to download into my phone... so I played it by ear. This was the beginning of the shopping, so I knew that I wasn't going to overspend any of my budgets.
The BEST part of shopping with a group is the instant feedback and openness. If I saw something I wanted, my sister would buy it for me to give as a Christmas gift, and vice versa. I know that everything I bought today is something they will love. The satisfaction in that is better than opening a surprise on Christmas.
I love shopping, and rarely let myself do it, so today was especially great. We shopped til we dropped today (and we're exhausted!), got a good start on the holidays, and had fun at the same time. Group excursions get a big thumbs-up from me!